Space and Scale in Reconstructions of the Social Organization of Craft Production

Author(s): Nathaniel Erb-Satullo

Year: 2017


Archaeologists often speak of production in spatial terms, contrasting nucleated and dispersed forms of crafting. However, the importance of the scale of spatial patterning in production activities (as opposed to "scale" in reference to quantitative output) has yet to be fully explored. It is impossible to relate the spatial distribution of crafting activities to a particular social organization of production without considering spatial scale. An examination of spatial distributions at multiple scales highlights significant variability beyond a nucleated/dispersed binary. For instance, a distribution that appears clustered at one scale may appear dispersed at another. A focus on spatial scale highlights complexities in the relationship between space and social organization. Dispersed, small production sites are often taken to indicate a lack of central administration, yet spatial centralization is not a strict requirement for social centralization. To build a robust production model, spatial ordering must be considered with reference to constraints on the distribution and management of resources and labor. Moreover, spatial data must be well-integrated with information on the techniques and practices of production. These arguments are illustrated using examples of metal production in Western Asia, focusing on my recent fieldwork in the South Caucasus.

Cite this Record

Space and Scale in Reconstructions of the Social Organization of Craft Production. Nathaniel Erb-Satullo. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431310)


Spatial Coverage

min long: 25.225; min lat: 15.115 ; max long: 66.709; max lat: 45.583 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17175